By Gilad Atzmon
Just hours after the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defence Minister Ehud Barak were quick to announce that Iran and the Hezbollah were behind the attack. In fact, it didn’t take the Israeli PM more than two hours to blame another country for committing an act of war on Israeli citizens in a third country’s territory. Of course, Netanyahu didn’t provide any evidence to support his thesis. In fact, even today, three days after the attack, no clear leads suggesting any Iranian or Hezbollah's connection are available.
What was it then that made Netanyahu so determined? Is it because he himself was privy to the knowledge that Israeli agents have been murdering Iranian scientists for years? Did Netanyahu react the way he did because he thought to himself that considering Mossad’s assassinations in Tehran, Israel may well have brought on itself an Iranian retaliation? Was Bibi projecting?
I obviously do not have access to Netanyahu or Barak’s minds, but Israel has certainly by now made it clear that its desperation to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, even if such an attack would escalate into a global nuclear conflict. In order to grasp such morbidity we have to bear in mind that collective self-annihilation is inherent to Israeli culture. As it happens, the story of Masada and Samson, both heroic suicidal narratives, are cherished in Israel. Yet, as much as Netanyahu and Barak are keen to launch a world war, it is far from being clear whether the Israeli masses are quite as keen to sacrifice themselves on the Jewish national altar.
I guess that both Barak and Netanyahu’s rush to blame Iran must be seen as an indication of their clear eagerness to attack the country. By now, the two Israeli leaders have managed to rid themselves of any significant voices against such an attack. The former head of Mossad Meir Dagan and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Askenazi, both of whom opposed military action against Iran, are now excluded from any decision-making process. Veteran Major-General Shaul Mofaz, the leader of the Kadima party, who also opposed an attack on Iran, left Netanyahu’s coalition last week. It seems as if no one within the Israeli cabinet is there to stop Barak and Netanyahu’s genocidal enthusiasms.
Furthermore, from an Israeli military perspective the current chaos in Syria is interpreted as a ‘window of opportunity’. Israeli generals assume that Assad’s regime, fighting for its survival, would refrain from joining any attack on Israel. Also Israelis believe that without Syria’s backing, Hezbollah also would stay out of it. In Israeli military terms, this means that the north of Israel is in no imminent danger of Hezbollah’s medium and short range missiles - at least for the time being.
The Israelis are, as usual, deluded. For some peculiar reason, they fail to grasp the possible devastating consequences of such a conflict. Barak, for instance, commented ‘optimistically’ last week that a clash with Iran may ‘cost the lives of up to 500 Israelis.’ First, it is interesting to learn about the ease in which an Israeli Defence Minister is happy to sacrifice 500 of his people. Second, it is far from being clear on what Barak’s estimate is based. Considering the common assumptions that Iran would retaliate immediately launching a first wave of more than 1500 missiles in the direction of Tel Aviv, Barak must believe that each Iranian rocket is capable of destroying no more than one third of an Israeli. Barak is indeed an optimist.
It is also far from being clear whether Israel possesses the military capacity to hit Iran and imperil its nuclear project. Earlier this year, American analysts suggested that the Israeli Air Force doesn’t posses the necessary might to attack Iran. For example, it lacks the airborne re-fuelling capacity needed to dismantle the Iranian nuclear project. It is also far from being clear whether Israel would attack Iran without an American green light and it is widely accepted that it is more than unlikely that Obama would provide such an approval ahead of the American election.
I guess the meaning of it all is pretty simple: whether Israel attacks Iran is obviously an open question. However, we have a clear indication that the Israeli leadership is more than keen to do so. Barak and Netanyahu are begging for a pretext to launch a global conflict. The meaning of it is totally is clear - the Jewish state and its pro-war lobbies are the ultimate threat to world peace. This threat must be taken care of immediately.